Patterson Insurance Pulse

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Insurance Law Blog
By pipblogger on 6/2/2014 9:15 AM

In MacCallum v Gamache, the Nova Scotia Small Claims Court addressed a question regarding recovery for property damage arising from motor vehicle accidents.

New section 138A of the Insurance Act, which came into force in April 2013, mandates direct compensation for property damage under certain circumstances.  What this means is that, if those circumstances are present, an insured may receive direct compensation from their own insurer for damage to/loss of use of the insured’s vehicle following a motor vehicle accident – as if he or she was a third party to the to the insured’s policy.  In so providing, the Insurance Act also disallows an insured from taking action against any other party involved in that motor vehicle accident for damage to/loss of use of the insured’s vehicle (although an insured may still take legal action against any other party to the accident for personal injuries). 


By pipblogger on 5/2/2014 12:32 PM
In the recent Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision of Linden Estate v CUMIS Life Insurance Co, 2014 NSSC 115, Wanda Linden, as personal representative of her deceased husband Patrick Linden, sought an order that CUMIS Life Insurance Company pay the full amount owing under a life insurance policy on Mr. Linden’s life.  CUMIS argued that Mr. Linden had made material misrepresentations about his health in his application for the life insurance policy, thereby voiding the insurance contract ab initio.  As a result, CUMIS argued that there was no amount owing to Ms. Linden.

In its decision, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court reiterated that it is well-settled that insurance contracts are contracts of utmost good faith, requiring those seeking insurance to disclose all material facts known to them.  Indeed, the Insurance Act of Nova Scotia has codified the obligation for disclosure by those who are applying for disability...
By pipblogger on 4/17/2014 12:07 PM

In the recent decision Trenholm v H & C Trucking Ltd, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court discussed what constitutes a compensable psychiatric illness or disorder and what constitutes an appropriate damage award for such illness or disorder.

The Plaintiff was present when a friend was killed in a motor vehicle accident.  After their vehicle broke down, the Plaintiff and two friends were walking home along the Trans Canada Highway.  As a transport truck passed them, the Plaintiff stumbled at the same time as the transport truck struck her two friends, killing one instantly and injuring the other.  The Plaintiff suffered no physical injury, but she sought compensation for nervous shock.  The Defendants denied that the Plaintiff suffered any compensable loss.  At issue was whether the Plaintiff had proven that she suffered from a recognizable psychiatric illness or disorder as a result of the accident.  If so, the amount of damages to which the Plaintiff was entitled was to be determined.

By pipblogger on 4/1/2014 8:29 AM
On March 31, 2014, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal dismissed the Plaintiff’s appeal of the decision in Russell v Goswell, 2013 NSSC 383.  The Plaintiff had appealed the Honourable Justice Duncan’s decision that several letters authored by the Plaintiff’s family physician and letters by a registered psychologist could not be admitted as treating physicians’ narratives under Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rule 55.14.
By pipblogger on 3/18/2014 4:53 AM
When an insurer’s duty to defend arises is not always straightforward.  Such was the case in Liardi v Riotrin Properties (Kingston) Inc.  In Liardi, a customer slipped and fell on ice outside of a Future Shop, and subsequently advanced a claim.  Future Shop argued that its insurer, Zurich Insurance Company, must defend the claim.  Zurich took the position that the area where the fall occurred was within the responsibility of a Riotrin Properties (Kingston) Inc., the owner of the premises.  Riotrin had a lease agreement with Future Shop under which Riotrin assumed responsibility for the common areas of the shopping complex and agreed to name Future Shop as a Named Insured in its comprehensive general liability insurance policy.  As such, Zurich argued that its duty to defend was not triggered. Future Shop sought a declaration that Zurich had a duty to defend. 
By pipblogger on 3/14/2014 9:35 AM

According to a bulletin from Nova Scotia’s Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, the minor injury “cap” for damages recoverable for non-monetary loss for all minor injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident has been increased for 2014 to $8,213, reflective of changes in the Consumer Price Index for Nova Scotia.

The Bulletin, released January 31, 2014, can be found here: Superintendent of Insurance Information Bulletins


By pipblogger on 2/20/2014 3:43 PM
As previously discussed, the ‘rules of the road’ do not always determine who may be found liable for accidents which occur when drivers overtake and pass one another – a determination of liability typically requires a close examination of the facts surrounding the particular accident.
By pipblogger on 2/6/2014 1:11 PM
The Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act has a variety of provisions which set out a driver’s various obligations when travelling on Nova Scotia’s highways, including provisions which specifically address a driver’s obligations when overtaking and passing another vehicle on the road and when being overtaken and passed by another vehicle on a road.  Those obligations are dependent upon the nature of a driver’s intended action, and are dependent upon where that intended action is going to happen.
By pipblogger on 1/16/2014 2:25 PM
Rob Purdy, Partner with Patterson Law, with the assistance of Cassandra Armsworthy, Articled Clerk, take a look at the standard of disclosure in insurance applications following the 2013 Manitoba Court of Appeal decision in Badenhorst v Great-West Life Assurance Co. Read the full article in the December edition of Insurance Business magazine – HERE.
By pipblogger on 1/9/2014 2:10 PM
Under insurance legislation, all motorists are required to carry a mandatory minimum amount of insurance against liability resulting from bodily injury or death, which is currently set at $500,000 in Nova Scotia. However, this minimum amount may not cover the extent of the damages recoverable by an injured party in a motor vehicle accident. To protect against insufficient insurance coverage, motorists can purchase additional insurance from their own insurers, known as an SEF 44 Endorsement. This add-on to a Standard Automobile Policy provides a motorist with extra coverage in the event that they are involved in an accident with someone whose coverage is insufficient to compensate them fully for their injuries (up to the limits of the particular SEF 44 Endorsement).